Monday, March 30, 2009

More Irrational Worries

Because it's been awhile, and my old worries, like that Carrot Top will one day become governor of California and give his speeches at the podium wearing a toilet seat, seem to be safely unrealized. Some things get checked off the list, is what I'm saying. There are, however, always new fears that bubble to the surface, and it's good to share. Also it's good to list things, and I need the practice.

Anyway. Here are my latest concerns, in no particular order:

1. I'm worried that my dog may be rotten, because he is sprouting. You know, like a potato you forgot about in the pantry, and it grew those tentacly sprouts? And then the sprouts had their own little forked sprouts, until the potato looked like a Cambodian temple with an albino octopus living in it? And how you forgot about it entirely until the potato became an oozy, yet luxurious home for a colony of ants, and then a huge highway of ants ran across the length of your house, because the potato had gotten pushed to the back of the pantry and you were too stupid to find it?
Not that my dog is going to be the oozy destination of an ant superhighway, probably, but he IS sprouting, right out of the side of his nose. He might be poisonous now, and how would we know without eating him?

2. I'm worried that something is living under my bed, and I'm not talking about my sprouting dog, because the other night I was in bed by myself (Bearded One was shopping for commemorative keychains on Ebay, downstairs), and something under the mattress pushed up. Like if a person with HANDS had pushed straight up, and then let go. I actually forgot about this until just now, because I blocked it out, or whatever it is did a mind sweep on me. So probably it's either a homeless person under my bed, or a ghost, most likely a ghost, which means we are going to have to call Ryan at Paranormal State to bring his magnetic gizmos and a pop-eyed psychic to lie under the bed and challenge it. Because, what does it want? No one knows. Also I will have to clean the dust and old shoes out from under the bed, and that's a lot of pressure.

3. I'm worried that once California is finished going completely broke next week I will have to grow my own vegetables in the back yard so that we are not reduced to eating the poisonous dog or robbing the gazing ball man to beat back starvation. We're in pretty big trouble here, because our yard is really a thin coating of "grass" covering a lot of rocks, and some discarded Burger King wrappers left by construction workers twenty years ago. Also I am terrified of horn worms because they are slimy and insolent, frankly, when they sit on your tomatoes waving their knobbly green heads at you, and so no tomatoes. It's likely we will only be able to grow prickly succulents anyway, and I don't have any decent cactus recipes.

4. I'm worried that all my enemies will print out yesterday's picture of me, and throw darts at my ass. And that somehow I will feel it, like voodoo darts, and that I will never know who the dart-throwers are because they will be nice to my face, which is how secret voodoo dart throwers are, totally phony. So there might suddenly be a wedge between us, because what if you're one of them, and every time you write something like "nice post!", you are simultaneously at home in your rumpus room aiming with one eye squeezed shut, and then shouting "YES! Bull's eye!" and high-fiving the other voodoo darters?

What if my insecurities ruin this great thing we've got going, and I drive away the best thing that ever happened to me?
That would be so much worse than Governor Top.

So, put the darts away, is all I'm asking.
No, really.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Family Knows How To Take a Vacation



Multiple Choice Test:

1. This woman:
a. Is balanced on a shifting rock, wearing flip flops, at the edge of a precipitous 8,000 ft. drop.
b. Is taking a blurry picture, a direct result of her questionable one-handed camera technique.
c. Is approximately ten seconds away from dropping the camera into a cluster of giant boulders and having to stick her hand blindly into a lizardy crevice to retrieve it.
d. All of the above.

Answer: (Like you don't already know.)
This woman is me. Two years ago. After a long, hot car ride, forty-nine thousand winding mountain turns, and an encounter with a snake. It is taken by the stealthy yet-to-be Bearded One while I am taking a picture of my son, who is standing on top of an even higher boulder. I seem to be unconcerned about this.

The scene is Mt. Paulina (rhymes with ' vagina') in southeastern Oregon, a volcano that still has molten lava swirling around only a mile or two below the surface. If I were to fall off the mountain I would plummet into a caldera filled with razor-sharp obsidian glass in huge glittering piles, mixed with lava rock. And two very deep lakes.

Scientists think Paulina could blow at any time. It doesn't while we are there, so that's one good thing about the trip.

Just after this picture is taken, the Bearded One will become irritated at one of the off-spring and cool off by cutting a few cookies* in the gravel parking area at the very top of the mountain. The dust plume will be impressive. The forty-nine thousand winding turns required to descend the mountain will be uncomfortably quiet. A large quantity of cheesy Doritos will be consumed in the back seat, much of it by the dog, who will later vomit an orange pile on the hotel rug.

Next stop on the family vacation itinerary: The scene of an attempted double axe murder** I read about and became obsessed with interested in. The park the attack occurred in is only twenty miles from the mountain. It's not morbid! because the victims both survived. The attacker still lives in town. We don't see him. As far as we know anyway.


(This story is all diane's fault because she tagged me. The assignment is to post a picture of you that is one-two years old. Sadly, this was the best I could come up with, mostly because I do the picture taking in the family and am therefore not in many of them. Or I am in the picture, but there are ten other people in the picture who might not want to be featured on the internet. I know. Weird. So now I'm going to tag someone, because I have grown arrogant with power. I think I will tag..... Dr. Zibbs. Because everyone is dying to know what he looks like. What do you say, Zibbs? I think it's time, don't you?)


*An example of vehicular "cookie cutting" in case your family are polite drivers and you think he may have been baking dessert in the car. My favorite part is the guy giggling at the end.

**I remember this news account when I was a teenager living in Oregon, and I never forgot it. Two college girls attempting to ride their bikes across the country made it five days into the trip before they stopped to camp in a day-use park one night. While they slept in their tent, someone in a pickup DROVE OVER THEM, then got out and hacked them up with an AXE. Then he left. They somehow survived, but no one was ever charged. Everyone in town, however, knows who did it. One of the survivors wrote a fascinating book about the trip, the attack, and actually encountering this man twenty years later. It's called Strange Piece of Paradise, by Terri Jentz. It's beautifully written, and oddly positive. Everyone I've steered toward this book has not been able to put it down.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Because I'm a Joy-Spreader, Basically

Today I'm going to focus on the upliftingness that is my middle name, and also gives me a chance to make up new words like upliftingness. There are two phases to my Friday plan:

First, show my appreciation for all of you, but especially a few, because I have an AWARD! to give out.
This award was given to me by Pearl, at Pearl, Why You Little , and it means a lot to me because I think she's wonderful (be sure to check out her blog if you haven't been there), and also because she was my very first follower, (other than my daughter, and I had to pay her, so it doesn't count). It meant a lot to me that a stranger would be even remotely interested in what I had to say. She's generous like that with so many people. If I lived in Minnesota I would probably haunt her house.

Anyway, it's time for me to pass this award on to a few of my favorite blogger-types. I had trouble doing this because I wanted to pass out about twenty of them, but I'm going to stick with the rules.



The bloggers I want to give this award to all make me laugh out loud. Each of them are gifted storytellers, and make me glad I joined this topsy-turvy blog world.
Also, they all deserve far more visitors - go check them out and tell them I said 'hi'.

Anna, at Incoherent Ramblings
Steamy, at Steam Me Up, Kid
Miss Yvonne, at Yo Mama's Blog
M, at Anonymouselasmobranch
Sarah, at Sarah's Blogstastic Adventures


Now, for the "rules" (I'm not good with rules, but I'm passing these on. Do with them what you will...:)

The rules of this award are:
* Copy the badge and put the logo on your blog sidebar or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.
Come back and comment here so that your link could be added to the masterlist of awardees.


Part Two of my Friday Upliftingness:

I was at diane's yesterday, and she posted a picture that reminded me of this one of my daughter and her uncle, a long time ago. It still makes me laugh.




Happy Friday. I promise to be extra edgy and controversial next time. Maybe.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's Like if the Marquis De Sade Went to Beauty School.

I'm a little short on time this morning, because I have a hair appointment, and frankly, I'm a little scared of my hair girl. Stylist. Scissor-wielding sadist. Whatever.

She appears to be really nice, and probably in places where she is not simultaneously talking about her ex and gesticulating with six-inch pointed scissors, she is a lovely person. It's just that she has a tendency to forget I'm in the chair as she waxes eloquent about missing child support payments and ignored potty chairs. I'm just a giant Barbie Beauty Head wrapped in a patented non-breathing Gladwrap poncho, who has learned to be grateful that there are no magic marker squiggles on my forehead.

(Because little girls do that a lot in case you don't remember. My sister and I didn't, because we didn't have a Barbie Beauty Head, but when we went to other kid's houses there was always a dirty Beauty Head upside down in a toy box, with marker all over its face. Instead, I had a fake barbie doll I called a "dolliken doll" for reasons that escape me now, and she was cool because she had joints all over her body so she could do freaky gymnastic stunts, and also she looked like Frankenstein without her clothes. But no Beauty Head. I'm not bitter about it. )

Anyway, my hair appointments have grown to epic lengths, another reason I hate going. I have a great deal of hair, granted, and it takes a while to glue bits of foil all over my head, I understand, but three-four hours is ridiculous. Partly this is because my scissor-wielding sadist is a very careful mixer of chemicals, and she can be in the back room for twenty minutes, just lovingly massaging coloring goo.

When she does finally emerge, we have the foil gluing portion. Then she puts me under the head lamp thing for "ten minutes". "Ten minutes" is sadist code for, whenever I get back from lunch and smell something burning in the corner. Once I've been extinguished, it's over to the shampoo station for a vigorous head scrubbing not normally seen outside of nuclear facilities.

(Note: Here I have to report some improvement, in the interests of fair reporting. I used to genuinely FEAR the shampoo chair, because my sadist had a mentally ill, and I mean this sincerely, shampoo girl with a mohawk, full-body tats, and a lot of unresolved anger, who would first do "relaxing shoulder and scalp massage" per salon expectations, that would leave visible bruising. Seriously. I would start to sweat when I saw her in the shop. After she had completed the kung-fu grip massage she would yank your head back into the sink, pour water onto your face, and begin a shampooing that would leave strands of hair in the sink. When I mentioned this to my sadist she said "we are working with her to help her with her anger issues", and that she was a body builder and probably "didn't know her own strength". Who was I to stand in the way of personal growth? Fortunately, after someone else filed a police report, she was fired.)

Finally, there is the dreamy blowdrying, which is done so slowly that I have fallen asleep more than once, only to awake with one side of my head smooth and dry and the other damp and frizzy, and no sadist to be seen. Probably the chemicals in the back needed more massaging, or there's a couch in the back. It's hard to say. By this time the heat of the blowdryer has adhered the Gladwrap poncho securely to my bare skin and smells like the collective sweat of scores of previously baking customers.

When she finally emerges, fresh from her siesta, the drying is completed, and the whole process is repeated with the flat iron. Seasons come and go. My bladder is full. My legs may be permanently asleep.

Then suddenly, "You're done!" she announces breezily, and reminds me to add the tip to my payment up front. She is on her cell phone before I can open my mouth, and I am dismissed to peel the plastic from my body and stagger out of the salon.

And today I'm thinking I'm a little tired of my hair and might like something new. This is the most dangerous element of a sadist visit of all. I may return with a bi-level, is what I'm saying, but hey, they're probably back by now, right? And no way are they the same thing as a mullet, because "bi-levels" are more.......well.....see, on the side, they have more of a delicate.....not so stringy in the b.........never mind.

I'll see you when I get back.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I prefer to be random on Wednesday. I'm like an internet anarchist.

"I can see up your nostrils with my heat vision," my son tells me yesterday.
"Cool," I say, "What do you see up there, and will this burn?"
"Nah," he answers. He peers thoughtfully up my nose. "It's just black up there."
"That's some pretty lame heat vision."
"Yeah," he says ruefully. "I'm not really good at it yet."

This conversation pretty much sums up my spring break so far. We had big dreams of cleanliness, educational outings, and productivity, but that's all dissolved already like a sticky mat of cotton candy in a summer downpour. I know. Beautiful, isn't it? I made that poignant and richly symbolic image up for you.

See, it's supposed to help you feel the profound sense of loss that is natural as your delicious neon pink (or blue, up to you) treat melts all over the limp paper cone, and stains your hands, but it doesn't really affect me that way because cotton candy is disgusting, and reminds me of the three-toothed carny that trapped my cousin and I on the Paratrooper when I was twelve and we had to ride for 45 minutes, crying and swooping, crying and swooping by the carny every thirty seconds until he got bored with us and let us go on our rubber legs.

So it's like the most selfless analogy ever.

Or I guess, if you'd rather, it could be like MacArthur Park, because it apparently is "melting in the rain, its sweet green icing flowing down", and now that I look at this again, my cotton candy analogy is better because what does that mean? I've been to MacArthur Park; they had a riot there a few years ago where some news people got beaten down, but nothing was melting. It's like there's a cake, but it's not really a cake. I don't know, it's too fancy for me.

My favorite lyrics in this whole song are where they say and were pressed in love's hot, fevered iron, like a striped pair of pants. So we're all on a big ironing board being pressed by Love, and we're old-fashioned pants like Dick Van Dyke would wear after he's clocked out from sweeping chimneys, and it's like I'm one pantleg, and you're another, and it's hot and painful being ironed, but we like it because we're being pressed together. So it's about laundry. And cake. And maybe chimneys.

Anyway. I blame our household sloth on a lack of quality sleep caused by nightmares and low-flying helicopters. Either the neighborhood tattoo artist is running from the law, or the government has gotten wind of the alien abductions (thanks again, Velostat helmet!) that have to be out of control around here, but either way they've sent every helicopter in America to circle our cul-de-sac nightly.

As a result of living in a simulated war zone, in the last three days I have dreamed: it was the end of the world, and an army of malevolent clowns were invading the US on water slides (I'm not sure how the slides moved, they just were always where they needed to be), that a lesbian co-worker beat me up as part of her activist plan to do something, it was kind of unclear what and she didn't bother to explain as she was pummeling me with her fists, and then last night I dreamed the dog had grown to the size of a horse, and we were fitting him with a saddle.

Which could be kind of fun, now that I think about it.

So we're tired, and reduced to looking up each other's noses, is what I'm saying. Today I'm shopping for a birthday present for my squirrel 'n dumplings grandma. She turns 90 on March 30th. Any suggestions? She likes gambling, and possibly Almond Roca, but I could be wrong about the last thing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Because Everyone Looks Good in Pearls

So I guess we can all agree that anonymous author man deserves a punch to the throat (so do volcanoes, but that is another story entirely, Kurt, and also I meant it metaphorically, because it's a MOUNTAIN for heaven's sake, except for that one time, and I learned my lesson.)

But the extrovert book man totally has a throat, and I would chop it with my fast-action karate hand if I could avoid prosecution. Or we would be in court, and the judge would say, "What do you have to say in your defense, young lady?" ("young lady" is my favorite part, and shut up about my self delusions), and I would say "Your Honor, the plaintiff is an asshole", and hold up my printed out e-book. And then they would take him to jail, only they would put him in with the introverts, who would eat him help him examine his soul. I have it all worked out.

Like a lot of you, I get irritated by people who don't get what being an introvert is. Introverts get it, but we are too busy writing a lyric poem about it to enlighten shallow, self-centered extroverts anyway, right? What? That's a stereotype too? Let me ponder that in true introvert fashion, and I'll get back to you.

So, it's Tuesday. Yep. Sure is. Second day of my spring break, and it's beautiful outside. Haven't been out there yet, but pshh, there's plenty of time. My house is, shall we say, beautifully "lived in", which translates into if someone doesn't do something with those dishes soon we're going to be eating out of the dog's dish again. I fully intend to get to it, any minute now.

What I have for you today is a mystery. I found this at my junk store, home of the elderly nose-picker, and the hoof bottle, and we have argued about it at home since I bought it. I need your discerning eye to end the strife.

Okay, here it is:



I personally think this evidence of the early stages of the Witness Protection Plan, before all of the kinks were worked out. My husband says no way is that a boy, because what boy would wear his hair like that. Because the hair is definitely what I focus on here, and also, I have seen your childhood pictures, Bearded One, and there was a definite Bay City Rollers thing going on.

Your theories are requested. The harmony of my home is at stake here.

Now I'm going to go have some cereal, just as soon as the dog is finished with his kibble.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Loosah

Your days are numbered.

Yes, you.
Because soon I will be totally manipulating you, and you won't even know it. I'll be doing all kinds of mind-bending magicality, and actually, I might even be doing it now, and how would you know? Maybe I want you to feel a little confused, and slightly annoyed. (See?)

I'm on spring break, which officially means lots of extra time to clean the house, and plan sparkling lessons, and learn to rhumba, but mostly means I have had time to learn that I am a LOSER.

No, don't give me that Barney speech you're working up about positive self-esteem, because I didn't decide this, an expert did. He totally is, he said so himself! I was surfing the internet and generally shirking all my real life duties and I saw this ad at the bottom of a web page that said "Introvert=Loser". What?? So I clicked it, naturally, and it's a good thing I did.

It turns out being an introvert is a sad and terrible thing, and probably if you don't cure yourself you'll maybe be a serial killer, but for sure you will "waste your youth". Also, if introverts don't listen he doesn't even care, because it just means he will " let you fools die out with pride". This is like tough love. This man cares!

"Being "yourself” is not the solution, it’s the problem", he says. This was so enlightening because instead of lurking behind buildings, by using his book, I, too, can contribute something to society, just like extroverts! It's so amazing, I can't wait to tell Queen Elizabeth, Michael Jordan, Julia Roberts, Barbara Walters and Stephen Spielberg that there's still time for them to make something of themselves! Maybe they could learn to manipulate some people too, and they will be so grateful to me for steering them to this book that we'll be best pals, well, after he shows us how to trick people into being our friends!!c Newton ° Jane Goodall

How does he know all this stuff? It turns out he is a master of "social manipulation and human interaction". Also he has" legions of friends". So he knows.

Naturally he doesn't tell all his valuable secrets, but there is a general list of what he will teach me, and here are a few highlights:
  • "how to act in a socially superior manner"
  • "how to find and forge friendships with the most important, relevant people in society"
  • "how to detach yourself from caring about the opinions of specific individual people and focus on gaining the admiration of the greater majority"
  • "how to use people to your advantage, as opposed to having them use you"
  • "how to get inside people’s heads and make them think you’re being honest with them, whether you are or not"
This stuff is like gold! I know things about extroverts that I never knew before. Extroverts act all stuck up. Plus, you spit on the little people. You young ones are all politicians and Sham Wow! salespeople. You old, old extroverts joined all the Hitler rallies, probably.

Some other things I learned: always use a lot of yellow highlighting to get the reader's attention.

A LOT. OF HIGHLIGHTING
.

Once I finish the book, I'll be just like the lady I saw yesterday coming out of Best Buy, who was leading another woman around with a dog leash attached to a collar around her neck. She used the leash to steer the other woman through the parking lot. Before, I would have thought, Kinky! Or Call the police! But now I know, she's just an extrovert, and boy, was that a relief.

Sure, the author admits, the academic community sees psychological manipulation of people as an "abuse of science", but he doesn't care. He's just doing it for me. And for 29.95 plus shipping and handling.

Any minute now, I'll be living the Popular Life*. Prepare to be manipulated.

* I only added the link so that you could admire all the beautiful highlighting and also so that this idiot doesn't try to do his Jedi mind tricks on me. If you order this book because I told you about it, I will tell everyone I know that you have totally bad breath. I don't actually know anyone, because I am an introvert, but if I did, there'd be humiliation, my friend. Think it through, is all I'm saying.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ha Ha, You Have No Legs Little Boy!

Really, internet?

I ask for a little help finding a topic, and this is what you give me? Thanks for nothing.

See, I made myself a deal tonight that whatever came up first when I clicked the Stumble button would be the subject of my post. This is what it gave me.

Okay, if you clicked the link, I'm sorry. I panicked. It's a fake link, because no way am I showing you the actual picture; you'll see it, and then you'll look up at my title again, just to reassure yourself that it's really that insensitive, and then a bunch of you will come over and confiscate my Partridge family bus. I am ashamed of me.

What?
No, I'm not telling you.
NO.

Okay, fine. See, it's a family photo of an adorable little boy wearing two prosthetic legs. Next to him in a neat line are several pairs of his outgrown prosthetic legs. He's so proud, and the legs are in a variety of heights and even colors, and it's a little weird but mostly heartwarming and totally Up, Up With People. Okay, look, here it is.

Nope. Still fake. Look, I tried, okay? I'm not Steam Me Up, Kid, who is planning a cannibal cook-off, and calls her Nana a dick. Some people are just cool like that.

I'm taking baby steps, is what I'm saying. Oh man, did I just say that?

So I clicked the button again, sort of like seeing what was behind the door you didn't choose on Let's Make a Deal and IT'S A BEAUTIFUL NEW CAR! instead of the luggage set you actually won, but sorry, you're an agoraphobic and can't use luggage AND you didn't get a car. (Shut up about how could you be on a game show and still be an agoraphobic. Maybe they brought the set to your house. Because of your charisma. Whatever. Can we move on now?)

Oh, the next thing was a cartoon of a guy on the toilet petting his cat, called "Cats Don't Care".

Do you see what I mean? That's like a whole book of posts right there!
Because cats and poop totally rule the internet. If you could make a LolPOOPZ, they would just shut the internet down, because what else would there to talk about after that? Nothing, that's what.

Also we could have great comment conversations about how it's true, cats really don't care! It's like they think they're superior to us or something. It's probably going to be a cliche pretty soon, it's so true. Also, they are not bound by the rules of propriety, like watching someone poop is okay! Ha Ha.

What I'm saying is, I mourn what could have been. Instead, I have this. (Did you try it again? Go on, click it. Unless you don't even want to anymore because you're so disappointed in me. I understand. Really.)

Now if you'll excuse me, my daughter has a painful badminton injury I need to attend to, and I have to find my hairshirt, which is in the wash and probably all shrunken now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Also, the flamingos LIGHT UP! ( but it's not all about that, I promise.)

Now I think I am in love with gazing ball man.

I went for an after-dark walk/run/pant and cry last night, past the house in question, and quickly realized how I have cheated you, my loyal friends, of the full impact of the circus yard once the sun goes down. The solar-powered tiki torches do, indeed, light up, casting magical flickering reflections on the balls, but that's not the best part.

The plastic flamingos glow red after dark. They are demon flamingos. Also this is truth in advertising because "flamingo" means, loosely, "bird on fire" in the original Congoleum, or Latin, or whatever.

And they are arranged like a circle of avian attendants around two plaster madonna figurines, one nearly as tall as the flamingos, and one much smaller, sort of a Midget Madonna.

I'm a little confused about the man's theology, because it looks like both Madonna and Midget Madonna have been cast into Hell, their smiling faces eerie in the flickering red light. The flamingos lean in menancingly.

Putting his mom in flamingo hell is probably not earning GB man any points with Jesus.

I was going to take a picture for you, because some of you probably think my neighborhood is too wonderful to be true, but the gazing ball man was in his yard amidst the treasures, dusting them.
After dark. Oh, my people.

(By the way, this picture is for you, Michelle.)


You've probably gathered that I have nothing of any particular importance or weight to share with you today. So, business as usual.

Here's a school story from my day yesterday:

My freshman were writing modern renditions of scenes from Romeo and Juliet, and then performing their rewritten scripts for the class. This is always popular because of the abundance of sword fighting opportunities.
Usually they go like this:

"Die, Montague, die!!"

Thwap, thwap, thwap. (Capulets giggle)

"Romeo, you idiot, why did you get in the way? Now worms will eat me!"

Long, long, LONG dying scene.

The End

Yesterday, however, was the best reader's theatre I have ever seen. It had drama. It had passion. It had unintentional physical comedy.

In this performance, the Montagues and the Capulets are fighting energetically in "the streets" with their floppy Nerf swords. It is very much the way I imagine fighting with hand-held trout would sound.

Only in this scene, the Capulets have been re-envisioned as stuck-up society folk (indicated by sweater vests and tennis head bands),and the Montagues are a street gang (indicated by big pants). It's West Side Story, only no singing or dancing, and no Rita Moreno.

Suddenly the Prince strides in (now a burly policeman) and shouts,

"STOP, and put your hands up!!"

Six pairs of hands clutching floppy Nerf swords shoot toward the sky.

One pair of Montague pants falls to the floor.

There is an exquisite moment of universal silence.

The de-pantsed Montague glances down. Sees his pants resting on his shoes.
A small whimper escapes his throat, and he says to himself, "Oh, man."

And then we laughed. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. People passing the open classroom door (it was 85 today) laughed, without knowing why. I think cosmonauts somewhere laughed.

I know some of you bleeding heart types are saying That is so mean! That poor Montague boy will never live it down! but I say, Suck it up, bleeding hearts. He's cool.

Because he had perfectly respectable boxer shorts on underneath. And he laughed too, once his pants were returned to their upright position.

Also, this class period is well-seasoned in humiliation; the first day of school a different boy in the back of the room suddenly stood up, said "I feel sick", and begin loping down the aisle toward the door. At the front of his row, he stopped and threw up all over the girl sitting there. And then they both had to run out of the room to throw up in the bushes. Welcome to high school, boys and girls!!

(You will also notice that I have not referenced the gorilla neighbor today, and that is because I have learned that you people are not to be trusted with banana stories, because it's all "a-peel", and "slippers", and "peel out". Really, people. Consider yourself on pun probation.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A tiny bit of spying on the neighbors again.

So I was leaving the house today on my way to someplace very exotic and top-secret, okay, it was Mt. Kilimanjaro, okay, okay, it wasn't, it was just the store, as usual, and I saw my neighbor beating his car.

At least that's what I thought he was doing, but when I squinched down in the driver's seat of my car (which was still parked in the driveway) I could see that what he was actually doing was slamming the hatchback repeatedly and cursing.

After about fifteen slams, the neighbor finally reached into the back of the car and extracted the largest single bunch of bananas I have ever seen. There must have been twenty-five or thirty bananas on there;it's like he'd gone to the banana tree and hacked off the whole limb. I could see that they were so heavy he had to bend from the knees to support the sheer banana tonnage.

Then he slammed the hatchback, and this time, it stayed closed! Were there more bananas still in there, all crushed and pulpy and extruding from the door mechanism, and the next time he tried to open the hatchback it would be glued shut? It seems likely.

The mystery is, why so many bananas? I thought of some reasons, and here they are:
  • world-record banana split
  • Vegas juggling act
  • fake guns for bank robberies
Or, massive hereditary potassium deficiency. Those poor people.

Also, as an interesting side note, this is the man who keeps ducks in the house. Do ducks eat bananas? Or has he adopted a gorilla, and if so, do gorillas like duck served in a whimsical banana sauce, because I hear some gorillas enjoy fine cuisine right before they beat someone to death. It would work out okay in the end, probably, because the gorilla would love tooling around in the Bananamobile.

If the neighbor seems suddenly a lot hairier, I'm calling the police, is all I'm saying.

Circus yard update:

My neighbor to the left has added to his gazing ball collection. He's up to seven, and it's pretty exciting, because it won't be long until every plaster animal in the yard will have it's own gazing ball, and that is not only a beautiful lawn tableau, it is also democracy in action probably, or the American dream for plaster squirrels and crocodiles. It's something to see when they light the tiki torches at night, how the light bounces off the balls. Close your eyes right now if you want, and visualize it. I'll wait.

Okay, that's enough, because I have big cul-de-sac news!

Next to the drunken teenage battalion, a new family has moved in! They have a flat screen TV that can be seen from space, and several lawn gnomes lounging in the flower bed. This is an important contribution to the neighborhood, because gazing ball man has sorely neglected the gnome option in his own yard.

And the lawn gnomes are way lucky, because on sunny days, which here is like every day, the dad of the new house throws the garage door open. And the gnomes get a front row seat to the tattoo parlor that's been set up in there. People come and go all day; he's doing a roaring business as far as I can tell.

It's a genius business strategy because it's low overhead, an extremely short commute from home, everyday is casual Friday because he does the tattoos in a bandanna and bedroom slippers, and plus it has built- in longevity, what with the elementary and high schools right around the corner. It pays to build your customer base early, is what I always say.

I do too.
Well I would, if I had mad tattooing skillz.
Shut up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vic's Chicks and Dicks: Tranny Outlet Store or Graduating Class? You Decide.

There was a time when I was a wholesome blogger.

I was like flax, or an episode of Wonder Pets ("Go-oo Wonderpets!"), only its time slot got switched by drunken network execs, and then poor little Wonder Pets got sent to The Spice Channel, which is no place for adorable CGI baby animals ("This is sewious!").

You see, yesterday, when I titled my post Miss Kitty Would've Shared Her Hymnal, I was all rosy with happiness at the image of a redeemed fallen lady sharing a spiritual song with her brethren. I pictured the hope that would swell in the breasts of my readers, and I felt good.

But no. Reader after reader saw "hymen" instead of "hymnal", and what was once virtuous and inspirational was now totally pervy. And pretty soon, every time I saw the title, I now saw "hymen"too, (which, frankly, sounds more like the title of a Judy Blume book than a porn movie to me, because who in porn even has a hymen anymore? Maybe the sound guy, but that's a whole other story, and if I go into it, more of you are going to lose focus, and I can't afford that after the "swelling breasts" thing. Oh, I noticed.)

Anyway. It's actually a better title the new way, and that really cheeses me off.

Yesterday, when I read a striver for sanity's kind call of support for me on Kurt's blog, where she referred to my good friends and readers as "hard core Vic's Chicks and Dicks", I first thought, hey, neato, it rhymes! And then, Wait... that sounds... kinda naughty!

I was going to change the title over my follower list, just for fun, until I realized that under the title "Vic's Hard-Core Chicks and Dicks" everyone would look like the police line up after a raid at an S & M club, like below the little pictures you're all wearing bondage gear, and wielding a whip. (Ooh, Anna Russell's dominatrix boots are so pointy!)

Or, on second thought, maybe it's like I drove around in my Partridge family bus picking up the most deviant- looking people on the streets (you guys!!) and took you out to a ranch in the desert, purely for the purposes of rehabilitation.

(Remember, I am an uplifter, as in "Up, up with people! ")

And there would be a sign over the front gate carved by hard core chick/dick graduates during the whittling workshop, and it would be painted in rainbow colors. And the sign would say "Vic's Shiny-New Chicks and Dicks", because the "hard-core" part would be gone after weeks of intensive hug therapy and Freudian Macaroni Art sessions.

I guess the pictures are like a yearbook.

So, to recap, I am basically an imaginary singing hamster who wanders into a land of soft-core porn, where I build a retro hippie commune to rehabilitate leathery degenerates, and make the internet wholesome once more. This could be great.

Or, that tranny supply store idea isn't bad either.


Image of shiny wholesome youth borrowed from: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-rroot720.html

Monday, March 16, 2009

Miss Kitty Would've Shared Her Hymnal

William Shatner is on my list.

Mr. Negotiator was all No one deals like we do, in his cheap suit and Mod-Squad poses, and also there was that ad with the lemurs in the baby carriage, which was clearly aimed at me. He promised a weekend getaway at a good price, but he lied, because the best plane ticket prices and flight schedules he had to offer were pitiful. (You heard me, Shatner, PITIFUL.)

So I never did make it to my uncle's funeral. Honestly, I was just a little bit relieved, because no one looks forward to a funeral; still, I should have been there.

Late-breaking reports of the funeral describe it as bizarre. My uncle and his wife were the only Jehovah's Witnesses in a large family, and so the funeral was organized by and held in a JW church. Kingdom Hall. Whatever.

Here's everything I know about Jehovah's Witnesses:
When a fancy-dressed cluster of people toting Watchtower pamphlets and a baby come knocking on your door, especially if one of them is a woman in a pillbox hat, you should quickly hunker down below the window line until they move on to the neighbor's house. This is a generally accepted rule in the family, except with my father, who would have cracked open a beer, let them in, and then pestered them with questions about druids and Santa Claus until they ran for their lives.

Apologies to my imaginary bevy of Jehovah's Witness readers, but by all accounts, the family felt bewildered and unwelcome at the service. Apparently there was a lot of convoluted theology to puzzle out, and some dry speaking, but very little mention of my uncle. Also the church people hogged the hymnals, which was not very Witnessy of them.

I'm pretty sure hookers were not allowed in the Kingdom Hall.

So I was at home this weekend after all. I went shopping and out for a birthday lunch with my amazing friend, Lisa (her birthday, not mine). The Body Shop girl gave us samples of wild cherry shower gel in little lip-balm containers. It's only a matter of time until I'm smoothing shower gel on my lips.

Later, the Bearded One, the kids, and I had Chinese food for dinner.
Here was my fortune:



This is supposed to be a good fortune, right? Because my first thought was, someone wants to kill me. Remember these?



I know I'm being all paranoid and negative again, and probably it just means someone is going to give me a gift certificate for a colonoscopy, but I don't know.

I'm buying a hard hat, because you can never be too careful.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

There's been weirdness afoot. Not world-class weirdness, just the personal kind, but still.

Weirdness.

For instance, it's no secret that people are being laid off everywhere, considering half the people I know seem to be looking for jobs, and this week is the deadline for pink slips to go out to teachers (at least here in California).

So I am immensely grateful that I have enough seniority to not be in any danger of losing my job, at least this year. The weirdness comes in because some student started the rumor that I am one of the teachers on the chopping block, and I 've had students and ex-students running into my room since yesterday outraged/crying/morbidly curious/suppressing jubilation. It's good that most of them would miss me, but after about the fiftieth kid I'm starting to wonder. Did my pink slip get stuck to the bottom of someone else's and pretty soon they're going to walk in all sheepish like "whoopsie!" and hand it to me?

Also, while I'm yammering on about school, one of my senior students found me on Twitter. I'm feeling a little panicky about that, which is dumb, because my cheesy smiling face is all over this blog, and also my first name, so if I was really expecting students to never find me, I'd have used a picture of Eddie Izzard in drag or a lemon instead. Plus, my mother and my daughter both read me, and that doesn't bother me. And I usually only talk about vulvas and turtle rape and dead glittery babies on other people's blogs, and besides they're like, eighteen, so what is my problem?

Anyway, I freaked out and blocked this girl from my Twitter account, and no, she didn't start the rumor because that was before, but now she's probably thinking my TEACHER BLOCKED ME??
But it wasn't personal, honest, and Tiffany, if you and your friends end up here, hello, it's so nice of you to come by, but keep moving, okay? Nothing to see here. It's just old- people talk, and isn't there a nice Jonas Brothers clip on YouTube to check out? I think there is!

I'm losing my mind.

Also, they're planning on planting cameras in people's fake eyeballs. I saw it here. Like I'm not paranoid enough.

This article says that this guy, Rob Spence, who lost an eye a while ago, and is a filmmaker, decided to have a camera put into his prosthetic eye.

I think I saw him today, because I saw a guy on the way to work and he was looking at me funny. Probably he had a camera in his eye and I'm going to see myself on a show featuring people falling down in the street. Not that I did that.
He says: "Originally the whole idea was to do a documentary about surveillance. I thought I would become a sort of super hero ... fighting for justice against surveillance."
I noticed he says "originally", which means I guess he's given up on the superhero idea and is just going to film people in the bathroom for fun now.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I died and no one told me about it. Because Kurt wrote this embarrassingly nice spotlight post about me, which I asked him to do and now I feel like I was fishing for compliments or something, and I totally was, but it wasn't supposed to work! It's like stumbling on your own funeral over there, where people say nice things because no one will contradict you in front a priest, and if you were floating over the casket you'd be thinking Thank God they aren't talking about your cellulite or that annoying way you had of picking the dead skin off your feet, and how they never wanted you in the club at all, they just felt sorry for you due to the hump.

What I'm trying to say is "Thank you, everyone! (especially Kurt)." It's mutual, and it meant a lot to me. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In Which I Go Postal On Some Bushes

Right away, I decided that in order to do this and not have readers wander off I would at no point use the word meme.

Damn.

I was going to try sneaking in a unit of cultural information ( because what does that mean?) but it's too late now. Anna Russell, who is funny and much cooler than me, tagged me for the bestselling "5 Things I Love About Myself", and I thought, no way, five whole things?! Really? Can't I cheat and count toes separately or something? Then I called her on my cell phone like a thousand times, but she wouldn't answer, so I asked around. Toes have to be counted together as a "toe unit" apparently, and since my toes are too short for my feet and no way will they make the list, there goes all those long distance minutes to Scotland down the drain.

So anyway, best not to put it off any longer. Gird your loins or whatever.

(Psst. I'm secretly pleased to be asked, and I know I can tell you that, but lately the internet has been overrun with dirty memists, which is a word I made up to kick sand on the meme haters, and I'm doing a little fakery.)

1) I Love That I Can Find Pathos Anywhere: For instance, today we went to see the accountant who does our taxes, and we sat in the same chairs in front of the same desk, staring at the same hair plugs we do every year. And on the outside I was handing the man papers, and nodding knowledgeably when he spewed calculations like I knew what he was talking about, but on the INSIDE, I was hearing "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, because it's true "swiftly go the years", and what happened to my little accountant's head? Twelve years ago he had newly planted plugs of hair marching proudly across the front of his forehead, the skin shiny and red, the plugs distinct, like off-market doll hair.

I looked forward every year to greeting my little friends across the desk, and for a few years, the plugs grew more distinct, if anything, as the rest of the hair began it's inevitable retreat, leaving the line of plugs alone on an empty stage. They were in their prime.

Then sadly, over the years, the plugs dwindled in girth, the hair growing greyer and thinner, until this year, all the plugs were gone, save one valiant grey wisp.

I think my accountant was gratified at my emotional response to his question about "taxable annuities", but I had to look away as Tevya wailed the chorus.

2.) I Love That I Can Kill You With My Fingernails: Well, maybe not kill you, but I could jack you up pretty good. My fingernails are made of some super secret ingredient that makes them grow at lightening speed, and then harden into "aggregated diamond nano-rods". I don't know what those are, but Google says they are the hardest substance known to man. I have accidently gouged a lot of skin from unsuspecting victims, which serves them right for getting in the path of my nano-rods. Look out, Vietnamese manicurists.

3.) I Love That I Know What Color April Is: It is cranberry red, and belongs on a ring, like the solar system. Also, if January is at twelve on the clock, April is four o'clock. Of course this is only true for me, but it is always true, and nice to look at, and slightly odd. I'm okay with slightly odd. I wrote about this awhile ago, in this post.

4.)I Love That I Have An Excellent Immune System: Other than a permanent sinus headache, I almost never get sick. And when I am it's totally spectacular, so it's still a plus. I think when the trees and bushes attack us, like in "The Happening" (stupidest movie ever!)I will be immune to their spores, and then I will save the world by firing up the weed whacker and cutting down the enemy. Thank you immune system!

5.) I Love That I Am Patient With Old People: I truly love most old people, especially elderly men, who break my heart (see #1). Also, I am patient with 90 year old ladies when they ask me to write letters to their dead husband in prison, and please address the letter to Mr. Cary Grant. And then forget that I am in the room, and demand that I start the letter over, despite the evidence in my hand that I have already written it. I love that this happened repeatedly when I was eleven and volunteering at the local nursing home, and I still rewrote the letter over and over, even though she cursed at me. I kind of miss that lady.

I'd tag some more people, because that's technically the rule, but I'm afraid I'd tag a memist by mistake, and that's just asking for trouble.
(And Anna, I know you were probably just really busy all those hours I let the phone ring, and not avoiding me at all, so, call me, okay? You have my number.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Because Milk Chocolate Would Be Stupid

Apparently there will be no hookers and beer at this funeral either.

Which is a disappointment, because I spent a fair amount of time today trying to find a flight to Oregon that will not cost more than my car did. If I'm going to spend fourteen hours (the actual flight takes 2 1/2) in three airports AND a wad of non-existent cash, I think I deserve a hooker waiting at the end of the line.

(And they're "hookers", not "whores" because hookers are cheery and substantial and have peacock feathers in their hair, like on Gunsmoke or any show with a saloon, for that matter, whereas a whore just hunches up all sullen in the mug shot wearing her meth face and an orange bra after she's cut you and stolen all your money . At a family gathering, the peacock feather makes hookers totally easier to find.)

So all that interaction with William Shatner ("Check out my Bargainus Maximus!") gave me a stress headache and I took a nap this afternoon. I had this vivid dream that I moved to Greenland and made myself an igloo out of big blocks of dark chocolate. I know, it's a weird dream, because who lives in Greenland? No one, that's who.

When I woke up I was still thinking about the logistical challenges a chocolate igloo would pose, and then I remembered there was really a palace somewhere that was actually made of chocolate! I remembered seeing it in pictures once, and everything was made of chocolate. Full turrets, massive doors, chandeliers, even the thrones were chocolate.

I lay there some more, thinking about how great it would be to just snap off a door handle when your sweet tooth demanded it, but then, would you eat the door handle after everyone had been touching it all day? And how would the heat of your hands not melt it? And then I started to remember that the castle did melt, because it was in India. And that maybe it was a horrible tragedy when the royals drowned in their castle because it had become a molten river of chocolate....

It was all starting to seem a little improbable. I went to the computer and googled "chocolate palace", something I don't recommend you do.

And then I found it! Prince Pondicherry and his chocolate palace!

From the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Oh. Heh.

Which makes me pitiable on so many levels, like thinking movies featuring Johnny Depp in a glossy wig are real life, and also that my need for endorphins and caffeine would be the size of a house. Or that now I'll never figure out how to make that igloo.

So it's been kind of a long day, and I didn't even get to comment on people's blogs, though I did read several. I have a lot to catch up on because Kurt alone has written a full novel's worth of blog posts while I've been napping, and that's a lot of pressure, so thanks a lot Kurt.

It's good to be here. Bring on the hookers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not My Usual Post

My Uncle Larry is the first person I remember ever saying to me,"Hey, pull my finger!"

My sister and I and our great swarm of cousins all fell for it in turn, but then we got wise. It didn't matter. He'd wait till you were distracted, and try it again. Sometimes you'd forget, and reach for the finger, only to pull your hand back just in the nick of time. Then he'd laugh.

He once tickled my sister so relentlessly that she wet her pants. He was a teaser, sometimes mercilessly so, and he had a sense of humor that was so straight-faced it was disorienting. He could also be surprisingly kind.

He looked a lot like my dad, (his older brother), and a little like Matthew McConaughey, at least when he was younger. My grandmother would drag out the old albums when we begged, and it was always a challenge to match the baby pictures with each of the six brothers.

I was struck by the family resemblance again when I last saw my uncle, four years ago, at my father's memorial service. My dad, who had been sick for awhile before his death, had insisted there be no preacher or funeral, but was enthusiastic about a party in his honor, so the family was all gathered gamely in a park on a warm spring day.

It had been probably fifteen years since I'd seen my uncle, and I thought he might not recognize me.

"Larry?" I said, tapping him on the shoulder. The Cajun music my dad had insisted on for his memorial "gathering" (he'd actually demanded Cajun music, beer, and hookers, but my grandmother vetoed the last two) played raucously in the background.
He turned. "Yeah?"
"It's me. Vic."
He looked at me, his face carefully blank. "So?" he demanded.
I was thrown for a second. I'd forgotten.
"So... so shut up and give me a hug!" I said. I put my hands on my hips and stared back.
His too-familiar face broke into a smile and then he hugged me, hard, and it was like getting a little piece of my father back, just for a minute.

It's a moment, strange, but oddly comforting, that I think of from time to time. I don't have a lot of interaction with my extended family, mostly because they are in another state, partly because they are colorful enough to be exhausting, and increasingly because there are fewer and fewer of us.

And today we lost my uncle.
It was an unexpected death, and a traumatic one. He was crushed by the truck he worked in, and my sister, who works for the fire department, heard the call when it came in. She called me not long after she got the news, and it's occupied my mind since then. He was the last brother of six.

So, since funny didn't seem to be in the cards today, you're helping me do a little processing, and a little bit of saying goodbye. I hope you don't mind.

I'll be back to my loose interpretation of normal tomorrow.
Hey, pull my finger.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sweeney Todd and the Beard Game

I had big plans for this weekend. Closets would get cleaned. Papers would be graded. Healthy, well-balanced meals made from scratch would appear on children's plates. A backlog of whimsical blog posts would be laid up like wood for the winter.
It all looked so good on paper.

Instead, I slept in two days in a row, and then staggered around the house until noon in my pajamas, scratching and picking up random bits of trash and old school papers, and then setting them down somewhere else a minute later. My son and his dad played eight hundred hours of Zelda on the Wii (favorite quote of the weekend: "This would be a good game to play in prison!") and the dog sighed.

So I went to the grocery store with the dog on a leash, and then realized I couldn't take him into the store and left again without the groceries.

Things in my pantry:

Fourteen cans of green chili refried beans, two cans of tomato paste, instant oatmeal, a fire extinguisher (this is me we're talking about), two giant cans of pumpkin filling, a sprouted potato, and a packet of salisbury steak seasoning. The last one puzzles me. Who makes salisbury steak? Isn't there some kind of state law requiring salisbury steak to be made in cafeterias only? I have no hair net, and no memory of any salisbury steak plans. It's a mystery.

The pantry also coughed up four empty boxes of fruit snacks, left thoughtfully by my kids in case some more sprouted inside. So it was inevitable that we ordered pizza for dinner on Saturday. I made sure to get mushrooms, so the kids had their daily fungus allowance. I'm a stickler for nutrition.

Sunday, at least, was a little better, because we had tickets to see "Sweeney Todd" on stage, and as far as I could remember, the theater required people to wear clothes. At least it was a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, going to the playhouse is challenging for me, because I'm basically anti-social, and once I'm there I will be required to Speak to People. Compounding the problem is the odd fact that not only have I been in the audience there before, I have also been in the cast of a few shows.

So I know people. But it's one thing to talk to someone when you're both dressed as Victorian street criminals and lugging a styrofoam coffin around, and another thing entirely to make small talk as yourself, particularly with a hairy silent husband lurking behind you. (Current Beard Status: Rip Van Winkle)

In real life I forget that other people can see me. I'm like a giant toddler with her hands over her eyes; but I'm invisible!...how did they know I was there? I've walked absent-mindedly by enough people by now that I think everyone assumes I'm sight-impaired. My version of small talk has been banned by the Geneva Convention. It's not pretty, is what I'm saying.

But put me in front of a class or an audience, and suddenly I'm all animated, like Liza Minella on speed. I don't understand it. When I do a play, I usually get cast as a comic character who shrieks and drops trays, or calls people "luv" in an odd Cockney accent or stands on her head.

Then when I run into people in the lobby, I can't really be bothered standing on my head, I'd rather go sit down in the dark, and enjoy all the murderous shaving in an ironic way with my bearded husband.
Which I did, taking the opportunity every now and then to attempt a Meaningful Look that was totally lost on my husband since he was wearing sunglasses in the dark. (They're prescription and he forgot his glasses).

Anyway, that's all I've got to say because it's Sunday night, and I'm tired, and the government stole a whole hour of the weekend from me.

I know this post is all jumbled up, but that's on purpose. It's symbolic.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Will the Real Mr. Oodles Please Stand Up?

First, I have two things to tell you:

1. The grape is now a raisin. I took all of your advice, and I mixed Hershey syrup with some hydrogen peroxide, and it seems to be working. Plus I'm totally going to lose a lot of weight from the vomiting. Anyway I think I only scratched Mr. Oodles with my toothbrush and it's not a tropical ailment, or hoof in mouth disease or anything (see how I worked the hoof back in? That's why I'm a professional.)

2. Mr. Oodles is really a runaway tarantula.

Wait, where are you going? Seriously. My daughter has a friend that named his tarantula Mr. Oodles, and I stole the name. I panicked, okay? How often do you have to name fleshy mouth nodules totally off the cuff? Like two, three times in a whole lifetime? Really, I named my mouth flesh in honor of the tarantula. Like an homage or something.

It's actually a sad story, because Mr. Oodles (the one with legs) has been missing for a couple of weeks. He's either out there alone somewhere, a lonely skid row tarantula in the Big City, or he is going to show up unexpectedly, probably nestled all warm and hairy on someone's pillow. That person will have an amazing surprise when they wake up!

I'm rooting for Mr. Oodles to make it home.

And now I want to uplift you. Because times are hard, what with tarantulas being missing and the economy, and Hilton sisters making citizen's arrests in IHOP, and we have to support each other.

I thought I could do one of two things for you. One, I could sing a heartfelt "Up Where We Belong", but I don't want your weekend to peak too early. Or I could tell you a story of a plucky little college student with a heart of gold who faces adversity and refuses to give up. This is nowhere near as good as the song, so I'm going to go with the story.

First, the college student was me. Did you guess?
I was a music major, and I had to sing in big recitals.

So one time I was supposed to sing a duet with Cathy, who looked exactly like me. We picked a classical song to sing almost entirely because Gilligan and Ginger and Maryann performed it at a talent show on the island just before men with straw headdresses and spears showed up and ruined the show (this is kind of like foreshadowing). We were serious music students.

The original song was in French. Neither of us spoke French, so we learned it phonetically.

On recital day we sang the first verse flawlessly. Just before the second verse, my mind went on a prolonged vacation without me and took all the French words with it.

But did I give up? No sir or madam! I made them up. It sounded a little like "Bleu,de bleu, de,boo,booo,bbooo,la la!" and went on forever. It was the longest song verse ever sung.

And then there was the chorus.

And another verse.

"Fa la la, leu,leu, leu, boo, flu boo!"

I don't mind telling you there was some perspiring. Cathy shot panicked looks in my direction, the whites of her eyes showing. Because we weren't singing any of the same words. One of us wasn't singing any actual words at all.

Finally, the song was over. I steeled myself for a scene straight out of A Night at the Apollo.

Applause. Lots of it! My voice teacher shook my hand! And Cathy apologized. TO ME. She couldn't figure out how she'd learned all the wrong words.

So the lesson we get from this story is, if you are just a big faker, everything will be okay!

Are you uplifted yet?

Okay, I'm taking my last shot here. You know Mr. Oodles, the tarantula who's lost?
He's back. As of, like, an hour ago. They found him under the stove. (I swear I didn't know this when I started the post.)

His belly's all withered up from the heat and no food, but he's going to make it! It's like a Christmas special starring Jane Seymour, only it's not Christmas, and replace Jane Seymour with a spider.

I think my work here is done.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

If TLC calls, I want to be on after the 800 pound man.

You know how they say that "nature abhors a vaccuum?" And how even now "abhor" is funny, but that's not the point? It turns out it's not about housework (surprise!) which was what I always thought, but now I know it's talking about my mouth.

See, I'm pretty sure you're supposed to have some open space in your mouth, even once you've counted in all the teeth, and your tongue, and that frenulum thing, and the punching bag in the back. And I should have even more than some people because I had my punching bag removed as a kid, and I'm still a chronic mouth-breather, so, wide open spaces, right?

I also had close to 47 teeth removed because they were inconvenient for my orthodontist, who looked like Charles Nelson Reilly and used to put a big plastic rack in my mouth and then go make phone calls. (Wow, writing this blog is like therapy, because, did I know I had decades worth of resentment built up towards my orthodontist? The answer is no, I did not, it just came out right now. I am healthier than that; I resolve to forgive him for the glasses and the personal calls, oh, and the ear hair. I set you free, Dr. Charles Nelson Reilly.)

So where was I?

Right. The last three days, while I've been all distracted with taxidermy and paprika, my mouth has been slowly filling itself back in. It's starting from under my tongue. I don't know what it's called and I even looked it up, but apparently it's uncharted territory even for mouth doctors, so think of it like the ocean floor, only it's the floor of your mouth. Here, go look in the mirror at your ocean floor. I'll wait.

Okay. See those little bumpy things under your tongue? Feel free to name them whatever you want, because no one else has bothered. I'm going to name one side of mine Stan, and the other Mr. Oodles, for illustration purposes. The problem is the Stan is behaving himself nicely, but Mr. Oodles is all swelled up and self-important, and making kind of an ass of himself. Also I looked in the mirror again, and he has a scratch. I don't even know how it got there, and I know what you're thinking, but I am a nice girl, as far as you know.

So probably Mr. Oodles is going to get an infection and then they'll have to amputate my jaw, because it already feels like I'm smuggling a grape under my tongue. (I am all kinds of attractive right now.)

I'm worried that even if they don't have to amputate, Mr. Oodle's going to get the rest of the gang all fired up and then I'll be like people they find in the desert whose tongues are all swelled up and stuck to the insides of their mouth. I seriously can't be relied on to breathe through my nose, so this whole thing could be fatal when I suffocate in my sleep.

Do you see why I'm sleep deprived? I've been up for three days breathing and feeling the grape with my tongue over and over, just to see if it's still there. Which it is. Damn Mr. Oodles.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Way Past Vague: Now with Tamale UPDATE

I am suffering from sleep deprivation. I'm pretty sure.

I've been sitting here for awhile now, mouth ajar, thinking about pomegranates and how pretty they are (the seeds are shiny!) and how I read that they keep for months, and if that's true, why don't they keep them on the shelves all year long? And also that I learned today that if you want to get laughed at in a southern California supermarket, ask where they keep the canned tamales. Everyone except me, apparently, has a grandma (excuse me, Abuela) who makes them all day long with love and patty-patty hands, and then deals them out to the neighbors, so no one has any need for the abomination that is slimy tamales in a can. Also that the store employees will only pretend to look on the shelves anyway, and then they will tell you to go to the dollar store, because there they keep Spam and tamales and Wet N Wild! lip gloss all jumbled together by the register, probably. And you're pretty sure that when you are leaving the store you hear giggling over the PA system.

But I'm over the tamales. Forget 'em. You don't want to hear about that. Or about the ad I saw in the doctor's office today in the back of Psychology Today for a love potion that promises a stampede of lovers. The clincher was a testimonial from a retired anesthesiologist, who "is trained to know what's real", whatever that means, and also why would a guy who used to knock people unconscious for a living need a love potion when he's got a lifetime supply of gas? I guess because he's retired so they took his gas away.

What I guess I'm really trying to get across here, is, I think I want to be a spy. I saw an article in the same magazine, and it seemed pretty cool. I don't remember why, exactly, because I'm too tired. I think it was getting to use words like "operative", and talking into your sleeve and other covert stuff. I don' t even know. Maybe I just want to go to Prague and test out my love potion on a brooding Eastern European specimen in a turtleneck. We would sit at a little table at a cafe with pigeons and tiny espresso cups, and then my spray-on pheromones would kick in and I would totally steal his soul. I think that would be fun.

And then I got home from the store and my son was lecturing the neighbor boy, who is not very bright, about proper care of the bones. At one point I heard him recommend vitamins, specifically Vitamin D, because "D stands for Dentistry. It's Vitamin Dentistry." So now, for the rest of his life, the neighbor boy is going to think they named the vitamin after dentistry, and probably he'll get into a big fight with his wife over it, and they'll break up. But I can't worry about that now.
I need to get some sleep.

****
UPDATE:
I feel better about the whole can thing now that I know there are people in the world who don't know what a tamale is.

"A tamale", to quote Wikipedia, "is a traditional indigenous Latin American food consisting of steam-cooked corn dough (masa) with or without a filling. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheese (post-colonial), and sliced chillis or any preparation according to taste. The tamale is generally wrapped in a corn husk or plantain(post-colonial) leaves before cooking, depending on the region from which they come."

The real ones look like this: (and you take the corn husk wrapper off before you eat it. I know, it should be obvious, but you' d be surprised.)



The canned ones look like this:


Tamales are traded like gold bullion here. I know teachers who would get paid in tamales if they had the choice. I grew up with the canned ones, and we make a terrible-looking but good-tasting "tamale salad" thing with them sometimes. I will now have to go into the some kind of witness protection program.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

This Post is Like the Credits After "Silence of the Lambs"

Jiminy Christmas, there are severed body parts all over my blog.

You know, a part of me knew that already, seeing as I put them all there, but I came back for something this evening and there was a festival of carnage waiting for me. It's like wandering in to Hannibal Lecter's house by mistake. So, sorry about that, and if you belong to PETA, please know that no animals were dismembered during the making of this blog. They were dismembered way before that.

( Also I was just trying out Jiminy Christmas, which is fun to say in an old person kind of way. Try it today, and see if it gives you the urge to carry a whole lot of Kleenex© in your purse/pull a quarter out of your ear, like it does me. )

Still no definitive hoof identification, since my blog is clearly not a meeting ground for avid hunters, or maybe they are all out shooting things right now. I guess it will have to remain a mystery.

I'm pretty good with ambiguity, and therefore I am declaring today "Embrace the Vague" Day. I'd explain what that means but it would defeat the purpose.

In honor of Embrace the Vague, I would like to list some things. Maybe it will help to scrub the lingering unpleasantness from our collective minds. Maybe not.

  • Yesterday I hugged my son tightly and said "I am going to hug you like it's 1999!" And he said, "Mom, your '80's hug is hurting my face."
  • My husband bought beard clippers, and then left exactly eleven clipped beard hairs in my sink before putting the clippers away.
  • Recently, while cleaning out my file cabinet, I found a 26 year old graham cracker. I know this because in 1983 a high school friend put it in an envelope for me to take on a plane trip as a joke, and I never found it. It still tasted pretty good.
  • My patio furniture is currently starring in a high school play. Next thing you know my furniture will be demanding an agent.
  • I have a unicorn hat that makes a magical sound when you toss your head (batteries not included). It was made for a three year old, but it looks good on me. I am waiting for just the right time to wear it in class, probably while reading a Bukowski poem out loud.
  • My ideal work environment would include dramatic slides. Something like this, only with more padding at the landing sites:


So go out and do some things in honor of Embrace the Vague. Don't ask me what, just...some stuff. You know. I'd come over sometime maybe to do some stuff with you, but I have to go somewhere.
I'll be back. Soon. Jiminy Christmas.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Defending the Honor of My Hoof Bottle UPDATE

Dear Venom,
In regard to your hurtful comments of this morning, regarding my "thing of beauty":
you said,
Hate to break it to you, especially since you have a whole bovine-theme tale that goes with it, but that is not a cow - it's a deer.
Cityslickers....
I must say again that I am wounded. First of all, I am not a "city-slicker". I am a "suburb-slicker", and I'll thank you to get that right in the future. How you tell them apart is, city slickers have less chunky highlights, and suburb slickers have more lawn-care products.

About the cow/deer debate. First of all, I'm pretty much the world's expert on deer, because one time I hit a deer with the car because it was either hit the deer or drive over a cliff.
So I practically have a badge in Deer Identification. Probably I will make my own later on today.

But still, let's look at the evidence, shall we?

First, some very scientific pictures of cow hooves, for comparison to my hoof bottle:


This is actually someone else's hoof bottle. It has a more mangled hoof, and is connected to the supernatural somehow, but otherwise, much like mine.

Next:


These are live hooves. On a cow. Imagine less mud, and a bottle jammed up inside the ankle.

Now, for comparison, here are deer hooves:


This was straighter when it was on the deer, but bonafide, nonetheless. You can see that it was SOLD.


Here we have both deer hooves, mounted onto hickory stumps for a very good reason, I'm sure.

(Purely in the interests of scientific research, I posed some questions to myself. I thought, maybe Venom has GIANT deer in her neighborhood, which could happen if she's next to Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. OR maybe it's like reindeer she's thinking of, which would be cool, cause maybe then I have Blitzen or Vixen's hoof and Santa is going to be pissed.)

Or it could be an elk.

Here is an elk hoof mounted to a pedestal for use as a plant stand or decorative lamp base.
This looks a little closer, but the hoof part is too pointy, and also my hoof bottle lacks a certain wildness.

So, let's review the evidence.

Deer hooves= too small, hooves too pointy and connected. But good mounted to wood.
Reindeer= possible but if so I'm getting no presents next Christmas.
Elk= Close second to the cow
Cow= WINNER WINNER WINNER

Also we have learned that people are sick, and will use severed animal feet for all kinds of twisted and nefarious purposes.

So, I think I have made my point, and in case you are still in doubt, let me just add that I have milked a goat in the past.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a badge to make.

Love,
Vic

***UPDATE****
I think the original picture didn't have anything in it for a size reference. Here's a side view that may or may not be any better at all.

In Which I Share Another Thing of Beauty


I know what you're thinking.

It's so chic. So functional. So........hairy.
Which is really all you want when choosing your accessories, just ask designer-y people like diane and Jill. And no, you can't have it, because it is my prize possession. I plan to be buried with it.

When I found this at the junk store , on the very same day I stumbled upon "The Piano Teacher" , I said to myself, Vic, this is clearly an indication that your luck is about to change. What are the odds that two artistic treasures would be waiting for you here at this exact moment? Also, if a rabbit's foot is lucky, carrying a whole cow's leg must be the mother load of luck. Like you should carry this hoof bottle into every liquor store in town and buy lottery tickets, and maybe get a refill for the road while you're there!

Which I totally did. I'm not sure if I won anything due to all the refills, but probably I did get lucky! Who knows!?

My intuition tells me that this is also the very thing I need to change my image. I picture myself in big round sunglasses and black wool coat, like Katie Holmes, striding down a New York street, my cow leg bottle swinging jauntily from my shoulder. Every now and then, when I was thirsty, or just for the glamour of it, I would stop on the corner and take a slow swig of delicious water beverage from the bottle, the hoof pointed toward the heavens in a bovine salute. And someone would take my picture, and I would become the new Face of Cool, and I would owe it all to the hoof. The next thing you know there'd be pictures of Katie Holmes with her own hoof bottle, and probably even little Suri would have, like, a calf hoof bottle, which is really sick. But amazing!! (Call me, Katie!)

It's also the ultimate in recycling. Never mind the bottle, it's basically re-purposing a cow, which I'm sure you'll agree makes me some kind of saint. Because the cow was clearly done with this leg, it's not like because of me there's a three-legged cow named Tripod somewhere, and also it's not adding to the hoof landfills that dot this fair land of ours. Just doing my part, really.

An extra bonus also is that my kids are repulsed and/or frightened by the hoof. All I have to do these days is wave the leg around for emphasis, and Things Get Done! The hoof laid strategically in front of a bedroom door, means It Really IS Time To Go To Bed Now! It's like there's no down side to this little beauty.

I do need to find a cap for the bottle, because I think there's supposed to be one, and probably the owners of the junk store lost it, or are keeping it in remembrance of the Splendorous Hoof. It would be bad for the bottle to spill, which also reminds me I need a funnel, because wine and Kool Aid would totally stain the hair/fur/ankle bump thing.

Try not to be sad about how I have the hoof bottle and you don't. It's pretty rare, I think, but I did see a couple others on line. There's a guy on Flickr who is doing a bovine salute, and a store in Texas that has at least one, but there's no price, so probably it's too valuable to sell. You understand.